Bread of Life for Eternal Life

2021-08-08 – Year B – Proper 14 – The Rev. Canon Christopher M. Klukas
Deuteronomy 8:1-10; Psalm 34:8-15; Ephesians 4:17—5:2; John 6:37-51

  • Steve Jobs. “One more thing.”

Bread of Life for Eternal Life

  • Last week we read about Jesus’ claim to be the “bread of life” in John’s gospel.
    • v. 35 “never hunger…never thirst”
  • As we continue in this same discourse, Jesus furthers his claim as the bread of life.
    • v. 50-51 – “not die…live forever.”
  • Fountain of Youth – Juan Ponce De Leon – St. Augustine
  • I have been thinking a lot about death over the last few weeks. My grandmother, Mary Klukas, recently died. We also just heard that Benne Elrod died on Friday night.
  • The eternal life that Jesus offers is not just an elongation of our present life. It involves his transformation both of us and of all creation.
    • Elongation would involve continuing in this present world with all of its sin, suffering, and difficulties.
    • Revelation 21:5 – “Behold I am making all things new.”
    • Revelation 21:4 – “He will wipe away every tear…”
  • So Jesus, the bread of life, is both a gift for this life (no more spiritual hunger) and for eternity.
  • If you weren’t saying it before, maybe now you are ready to join those who listened to Jesus in saying “Sir, give us this bread always!” (v. 34).
  • vv. 40, 47 – the role of “belief”
    • Pisteuo – verb “to believe to the extent of complete trust and reliance”
    • Pistis – noun “faith”
    • Eternal life comes not because of anything we do, but instead through our complete trust and reliance on Jesus who gives us his eternal life.
  • “Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.” – Psalm 34:8

The Drawing of the Father and Hardness of Heart

  • You can’t save yourself! Even faith itself is a gift from God.
    • John 6:44 “No one can come to me unless the Father…draws him.”
    • St. Augustine, as he fought against the heretical teachings of Pelagius, taught that “even the faith through which man trusts in Christ must be considered a gracious gift from God—gratia dei gratuita. Man cannot even claim to initiate faith; the beginning of faith (initium fidei) is divine in its origin. Unless God grants faith in the first place, man will never believe but remain in his stubborn, willful disbelief.”
  • Those who questioned him did not believe. v. 36, 41-42
    • Ephesians 4:18 – “hardness of heart” – hardness “comes from a verb that means to ‘petrify’ or ‘cause a callus to form.’”
    • This was the state of all of us until God stepped in to intervene.
      • v. 17 – “…you must no longer walk as the gentiles do…”
    • The hardness of our hearts needs to be softened by the Holy Spirit working upon it.
    • At the same time, there seems to be a choice to “put off your old self…and to put on the new self.” (vv. 22-24).
  • Returning to the Gospel of John, we see something similar reflected in v. 45. “…everyone who has heard and learned from the Father…”
    • “Here we have a very profound reflection on the mystery of the roles of the divine and the human in a person’s coming to faith. Indeed, faith itself includes receptive openness to God. Thus, the drawing by God and the reception of the person are intimately interwoven”

Secure Salvation

  • So what is your posture towards God?
    • Is your heart hard towards God? Are you trying to pridefully pay your own way by being a good person? Or do you have a “receptive openness to God.”
  • John 6:37 “whoever comes to me I will never cast out.”
  • John 6:40 “everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life…”
  • John 6:34 – “Sir, give us this bread always!”

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